Employee Entitled to Workers’ Compensation for Mental Stress Resulting from Hostile Work Environment

Published Date: 
December 18, 2009

Ross v. City of Asbury Park, Nos. A-0379-08T3, A-2174-08T3 (App. Div., November 23, 2009) – The Appellate Division recently affirmed a workers’ compensation award to a plaintiff based upon a diagnosis of adjustment disorder and anxiety caused by “objectively stressful working conditions.” The plaintiff was allegedly subjected to various “smear” tactics, sexual innuendo and rumors due to the City Manager’s preference for working with her rather than his own assistant. Rather than correct the problems, the plaintiff’s employer allegedly attempted to lay her off, and circulated a false rumor that she was resigning. The court agreed with the workers’ compensation judge that the events to which the plaintiff was exposed contributed to her injury to a material degree and were therefore compensable.

Note: This article was published in the December 2009 issue of the New Jersey eAuthority.